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1.  Dysregulated Epstein-Barr virus infection in the multiple sclerosis brain 
The Journal of Experimental Medicine  2007;204(12):2899-2912.
Epstein-Barr virus (EBV), a ubiquitous B-lymphotropic herpesvirus, has been associated with multiple sclerosis (MS), an inflammatory disease of the central nervous system (CNS), but direct proof of its involvement in the disease is still missing. To test the idea that MS might result from perturbed EBV infection in the CNS, we investigated expression of EBV markers in postmortem brain tissue from MS cases with different clinical courses. Contrary to previous studies, we found evidence of EBV infection in a substantial proportion of brain-infiltrating B cells and plasma cells in nearly 100% of the MS cases examined (21 of 22), but not in other inflammatory neurological diseases. Ectopic B cell follicles forming in the cerebral meninges of some cases with secondary progressive MS were identified as major sites of EBV persistence. Expression of viral latent proteins was regularly observed in MS brains, whereas viral reactivation appeared restricted to ectopic B cell follicles and acute lesions. Activation of CD8+ T cells with signs of cytotoxicity toward plasma cells was also noted at sites of major accumulations of EBV-infected cells. Whether homing of EBV-infected B cells to the CNS is a primary event in MS development or the consequence of a still unknown disease-related process, we interpret these findings as evidence that EBV persistence and reactivation in the CNS play an important role in MS immunopathology.
PMCID: PMC2118531  PMID: 17984305
2.  Epstein–Barr virus in the multiple sclerosis brain: a controversial issue—report on a focused workshop held in the Centre for Brain Research of the Medical University of Vienna, Austria 
Brain  2011;134(9):2772-2786.
Recent epidemiological and immunological studies provide evidence for an association between Epstein–Barr virus infection and multiple sclerosis, suggesting a role of Epstein–Barr virus infection in disease induction and pathogenesis. A key question in this context is whether Epstein–Barr virus-infected B lymphocytes are present within the central nervous system and the lesions of patients with multiple sclerosis. Previous studies on this topic provided highly controversial results, showing Epstein–Barr virus reactivity in B cells in the vast majority of multiple sclerosis cases and lesions, or only exceptional Epstein–Barr virus-positive B cells in rare cases. In an attempt to explain the reasons for these divergent results, a workshop was organized under the umbrella of the European Union FP6 NeuroproMiSe project, the outcome of which is presented here. This report summarizes the current knowledge of Epstein–Barr virus biology and shows that Epstein–Barr virus infection is highly complex. There are still major controversies, how to unequivocally identify Epstein–Barr virus infection in pathological tissues, particularly in situations other than Epstein–Barr virus-driven lymphomas or acute Epstein–Barr virus infections. It further highlights that unequivocal proof of Epstein–Barr virus infection in multiple sclerosis lesions is still lacking, due to issues related to the sensitivity and specificity of the detection methods.
PMCID: PMC3170536  PMID: 21846731
multiple sclerosis; Epstein–Barr virus; EBV biology; EBV detection in tissue
3.  Absence of Epstein-Barr virus in the brain and CSF of patients with multiple sclerosis(e–Pub ahead of print) 
Neurology  2010;74(14):1127-1135.
Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) is a ubiquitous human herpesvirus that becomes latent in B-lymphocytes and has been implicated in the pathogenesis of multiple sclerosis (MS). We searched for latent and active EBV infection in MS brain and CSF.
Nested and non-nested real-time PCR were used to detect cell-specific and EBV-specific transcripts in 15 fresh-frozen and 5 formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded MS plaques and in single MS CSF B-lymphocytes and plasma cells. Intrathecal anti-EBV antibody synthesis was measured by ELISA. Immunocytochemistry was used to detect binding of MS CSF and recombinant antibodies (rAbs) generated from clonally expanded plasma cells in MS CSF to EBV-infected cells.
No EBV RNA was found in MS CSF B-lymphocytes or plasma cells. In active MS plaques, EBV-encoded RNA (EBER)-1 was the only and rarely detected transcript. The frequency of detected intrathecal anti-EBV antibody synthesis in patients with MS did not differ from that in non-MS inflammatory CNS disease control patients. Anti-EBV antibodies were detected in the CSF of patients with MS, but MS rAbs did not react with EBV.
Application of real-time PCR to multiple sclerosis brain and single B-lymphocytes in CSF did not reveal any evidence of active Epstein-Barr virus infection.
= antibody index;
= EBV-encoded RNA;
= Epstein-Barr virus;
= non-MS inflammatory CNS disease;
= immunoglobulin G;
= in situ hybridization;
= Luxol fast blue;
= multiple sclerosis;
= odds ratio;
= recombinant antibodies.
PMCID: PMC2865779  PMID: 20220124
4.  The Essential Role of Epstein-Barr Virus in the Pathogenesis of Multiple Sclerosis 
The Neuroscientist  2011;17(4):351-367.
There is increasing evidence that infection with the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) plays a role in the development of multiple sclerosis (MS), a chronic inflammatory demyelinating disease of the CNS. This article provides a four-tier hypothesis proposing (1) EBV infection is essential for the development of MS; (2) EBV causes MS in genetically susceptible individuals by infecting autoreactive B cells, which seed the CNS where they produce pathogenic autoantibodies and provide costimulatory survival signals to autoreactive T cells that would otherwise die in the CNS by apoptosis; (3) the susceptibility to develop MS after EBV infection is dependent on a genetically determined quantitative deficiency of the cytotoxic CD8+ T cells that normally keep EBV infection under tight control; and (4) sunlight and vitamin D protect against MS by increasing the number of CD8+ T cells available to control EBV infection. The hypothesis makes predictions that can be tested, including the prevention and successful treatment of MS by controlling EBV infection.
PMCID: PMC3764840  PMID: 21075971
multiple sclerosis; Epstein-Barr virus; CD8 T cell; vitamin D; sunlight; treatment; autoimmune
5.  Epstein-Barr Virus Stimulates Torque Teno Virus Replication: A Possible Relationship to Multiple Sclerosis 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(2):e32160.
Viral infections have been implicated in the pathogenesis of multiple sclerosis. Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) has frequently been investigated as a possible candidate and torque teno virus (TTV) has also been discussed in this context. Nevertheless, mechanistic aspects remain unresolved. We report viral replication, as measured by genome amplification, as well as quantitative PCR of two TTV-HD14 isolates isolated from multiple sclerosis brain in a series of EBV-positive and -negative lymphoblastoid and Burkitt's lymphoma cell lines. Our results demonstrate the replication of both transfected TTV genomes up to day 21 post transfection in all the evaluated cell lines. Quantitative amplification indicates statistically significant enhanced TTV replication in the EBV-positive cell lines, including the EBV-converted BJAB line, in comparison to the EBV-negative Burkitt's lymphoma cell line BJAB. This suggests a helper effect of EBV infections in the replication of TTV. The present study provides information on a possible interaction of EBV and TTV in the etiology and progression of multiple sclerosis.
PMCID: PMC3285200  PMID: 22384166
6.  Induction of Encephalitis in Rhesus Monkeys Infused with Lymphocryptovirus-Infected B-Cells Presenting MOG34–56 Peptide 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(8):e71549.
The overlapping epidemiology of multiple sclerosis (MS) and Epstein-Barr virus (EBV), the increased risk to develop MS after infectious mononucleosis (IM) and the localization of EBV-infected B-cells within the MS brain suggest a causal link between EBV and MS. However, the underlying mechanism is unknown. We hypothesize that EBV-infected B-cells are capable of eliciting a central nervous system (CNS) targeting autoimmune reaction. To test this hypothesis we have developed a novel experimental model in rhesus monkeys of IM-like disease induced by infusing autologous B-lymphoblastoid cells (B-LCL). Herpesvirus papio (HVP) is a lymphocryptovirus related to EBV and was used to generate rhesus monkey B-LCL. Three groups of five animals were included; each group received three intravenous infusions of B-LCL that were either pulsed with the encephalitogenic self peptide MOG34–56 (group A), a mimicry peptide (981–1003) of the major capsid protein of cytomegalovirus (CMVmcp981–1003; group B) or the citrullinated MOG34–56 (cMOG34–56; group C). Groups A and B received on day 98 a single immunization with MOG34–56 in incomplete Freund’s adjuvant (IFA). Group C monkeys were euthanized just prior to day 98 without booster immunization. We observed self-peptide-specific proliferation of T-cells, superimposed on similar strong proliferation of CD3+CD8+ T-cells against the B-LCL as observed in IM. The brains of several monkeys contained perivascular inflammatory lesions of variable size, comprising CD3+ and CD68+ cells. Moreover, clusters of CD3+ and CD20+ cells were detected in the meninges. The only evident clinical sign was substantial loss of bodyweight (>15%), a symptom observed both in early autoimmune encephalitis and IM. In conclusion, this model suggests that EBV-induced B-LCL can elicit a CNS targeting inflammatory (auto)immune reaction.
PMCID: PMC3744571  PMID: 23977076
7.  Primary Infection with the Epstein-Barr Virus and Risk of Multiple Sclerosis 
Annals of neurology  2010;67(6):824-830.
To determine whether multiple sclerosis (MS) risk increases following primary infection with the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV), we conducted a nested case-control study including 305 individuals who developed MS and 610 matched controls selected among the over 8 million active-duty military personnel with serum stored in the Department of Defense Serum Repository. Time of EBV infection was determined by measuring antibody titers in serial serum samples collected before MS onset among cases, and on matched dates among controls. Ten (3.3%) cases and 32 (5.2%) controls were initially EBV negative. . All of the 10 EBV-negative cases became EBV positive before MS onset ; in contrast, only 35.7 % (10) of the 28 controls with follow-up samples seroconverted (exact p value = 0.0008). We conclude that MS risk is extremely low among individuals not infected with EBV, but it increases sharply in the same individuals following EBV infection.
PMCID: PMC3089959  PMID: 20517945
8.  Gammaherpesvirus Latency Accentuates EAE Pathogenesis: Relevance to Epstein-Barr Virus and Multiple Sclerosis 
PLoS Pathogens  2012;8(5):e1002715.
Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) has been identified as a putative environmental trigger of multiple sclerosis (MS), yet EBV's role in MS remains elusive. We utilized murine gamma herpesvirus 68 (γHV-68), the murine homolog to EBV, to examine how infection by a virus like EBV could enhance CNS autoimmunity. Mice latently infected with γHV-68 developed more severe EAE including heightened paralysis and mortality. Similar to MS, γHV-68EAE mice developed lesions composed of CD4 and CD8 T cells, macrophages and loss of myelin in the brain and spinal cord. Further, T cells from the CNS of γHV-68 EAE mice were primarily Th1, producing heightened levels of IFN-γ and T-bet accompanied by IL-17 suppression, whereas a Th17 response was observed in uninfected EAE mice. Clearly, γHV-68 latency polarizes the adaptive immune response, directs a heightened CNS pathology following EAE induction reminiscent of human MS and portrays a novel mechanism by which EBV likely influences MS and other autoimmune diseases.
Author Summary
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a chronic inflammatory disease of the central nervous system (CNS) that leads to progressive disability. The causes of the disease are still unknown. Viral infections has been linked to MS development and Epstein-Barr virus has been shown to have a strong link to MS. Here, we use an animal model of MS, experimental autoimmune encephalitis (EAE), to study how EBV can trigger MS. Since EBV does not infect rodents, we infected mice with murine gamma herpesvirus 68 (γHV-68), the murine equivalent of EBV. We found that mice previously infected with γHV-68 developed more severe EAE when compared to uninfected EAE mice and showed pathological features that recapitulate human MS. γHV-68 EAE presented with increased CD4 and CD8 T cells infiltrations in the brain, increased brain inflammation and demyelination. This model provides new insight on how EBV might be triggering MS, shedding light on the development of the disease.
PMCID: PMC3355105  PMID: 22615572
9.  Related B cell clones populate the meninges and parenchyma of patients with multiple sclerosis 
Brain  2011;134(2):534-541.
In the central nervous system of patients with multiple sclerosis, B cell aggregates populate the meninges, raising the central question as to whether these structures relate to the B cell infiltrates found in parenchymal lesions or instead, represent a separate central nervous system immune compartment. We characterized the repertoires derived from meningeal B cell aggregates and the corresponding parenchymal infiltrates from brain tissue derived primarily from patients with progressive multiple sclerosis. The majority of expanded antigen-experienced B cell clones derived from meningeal aggregates were also present in the parenchyma. We extended this investigation to include 20 grey matter specimens containing meninges, 26 inflammatory plaques, 19 areas of normal appearing white matter and cerebral spinal fluid. Analysis of 1833 B cell receptor heavy chain variable region sequences demonstrated that antigen-experienced clones were consistently shared among these distinct compartments. This study establishes a relationship between extraparenchymal lymphoid tissue and parenchymal infiltrates and defines the arrangement of B cell clones that populate the central nervous system of patients with multiple sclerosis.
PMCID: PMC3030766  PMID: 21216828
multiple sclerosis; B cells; clonal expansion; antigen experience; central nervous system
10.  Increased CD8+ T Cell Response to Epstein-Barr Virus Lytic Antigens in the Active Phase of Multiple Sclerosis 
PLoS Pathogens  2013;9(4):e1003220.
It has long been known that multiple sclerosis (MS) is associated with an increased Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) seroprevalence and high immune reactivity to EBV and that infectious mononucleosis increases MS risk. This evidence led to postulate that EBV infection plays a role in MS etiopathogenesis, although the mechanisms are debated. This study was designed to assess the prevalence and magnitude of CD8+ T-cell responses to EBV latent (EBNA-3A, LMP-2A) and lytic (BZLF-1, BMLF-1) antigens in relapsing-remitting MS patients (n = 113) and healthy donors (HD) (n = 43) and to investigate whether the EBV-specific CD8+ T cell response correlates with disease activity, as defined by clinical evaluation and gadolinium-enhanced magnetic resonance imaging. Using HLA class I pentamers, lytic antigen-specific CD8+ T cell responses were detected in fewer untreated inactive MS patients than in active MS patients and HD while the frequency of CD8+ T cells specific for EBV lytic and latent antigens was higher in active and inactive MS patients, respectively. In contrast, the CD8+ T cell response to cytomegalovirus did not differ between HD and MS patients, irrespective of the disease phase. Marked differences in the prevalence of EBV-specific CD8+ T cell responses were observed in patients treated with interferon-β and natalizumab, two licensed drugs for relapsing-remitting MS. Longitudinal studies revealed expansion of CD8+ T cells specific for EBV lytic antigens during active disease in untreated MS patients but not in relapse-free, natalizumab-treated patients. Analysis of post-mortem MS brain samples showed expression of the EBV lytic protein BZLF-1 and interactions between cytotoxic CD8+ T cells and EBV lytically infected plasma cells in inflammatory white matter lesions and meninges. We therefore propose that inability to control EBV infection during inactive MS could set the stage for intracerebral viral reactivation and disease relapse.
Author Summary
There is general consensus that multiple sclerosis (MS) is associated with Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) infection but the mechanistic links are still debated. EBV is a B-lymphotropic herpesvirus widespread in the human population and normally contained as a persistent, asymptomatic infection by immune surveillance. However, EBV can cause infectious mononucleosis, is associated with numerous human malignancies, and is implicated in some common autoimmune diseases. While EBV infection alone cannot explain MS development, it has been postulated that in susceptible individuals alterations in the mechanisms regulating the immune response to the virus may contribute to MS pathogenesis. Here, we show that MS patients with inactive disease exhibit a lower CD8+ T-cell response to EBV when compared to healthy donors and active MS patients while the latter have a higher frequency of CD8+ T cells specific for EBV lytic antigens. Therapy with interferon-β and natalizumab, two treatments for relapsing-remitting MS, was associated with marked changes in the EBV specific CD8+ T cell response. We also demonstrate that one of the EBV lytic antigens recognized by CD8+ T cells expanding in the blood during active MS is expressed in the inflamed MS brain. Our results support a model of MS pathogenesis in which EBV infection and reactivation in the CNS stimulates an immunopathological response and suggest that antiviral or immunomodulatory therapies aimed at restoring the host-EBV balance could be beneficial to MS patients.
PMCID: PMC3623710  PMID: 23592979
11.  Epstein-Barr virus in oral shedding of children with multiple sclerosis 
Neurology  2013;81(16):1392-1399.
To investigate Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) oral shedding frequency and EBV genetic diversity in pediatric patients with multiple sclerosis (MS).
This was a prospective case-control study. We used PCR-based assays to detect viral DNA in the monthly mouth swabs of 22 pediatric patients with MS and 77 age- and sex-matched healthy controls. EBV-positive samples were further analyzed for sequence variation in the EBV BCRF1 (ebvIL-10) gene using direct DNA sequencing methods, and in the EBV LMP1 gene by mass spectrometry.
Nineteen of the 22 (86.4%) children with MS were seropositive for remote EBV infection compared to 35 out of 77 (45.5%) healthy controls (p = 0.008). Baseline analysis of mouth swabs revealed a higher proportion of EBV-positive samples from EBV-seropositive patients with MS compared to EBV-seropositive healthy controls (52.6% vs 20%, p = 0.007). Longitudinal analysis of monthly swabs revealed average EBV detection rates of 50.6% in patients with MS and 20.4% in controls (p = 0.01). The oral shedding frequencies of Herpesviruses herpes simplex virus–1, cytomegalovirus, human herpesvirus (HHV)-6, and HHV-7 did not differ between groups. Changes in the predominant EBV genetic variants were detected more frequently in patients with MS; however, no specific EBV genetic variant was preferentially associated with MS.
Children with MS demonstrate abnormally increased rates of EBV viral reactivation and a broader range of genetic variants, suggesting a selective impairment in their immunologic control of EBV.
PMCID: PMC3806908  PMID: 24014504
12.  The role of the Epstein–Barr virus in the pathogenesis of some autoimmune disorders – Similarities and differences 
After a brief summary on the properties of the Epstein–Barr virus (EBV), the course and latency stages of the infection, the characteristics of infectious mononucleosis (IM), and other disorders caused by this virus, as well as the course of the serological responses to EBV, the current paper focuses on the role of EBV in two autoimmune disorders: multiple sclerosis (MS), and systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). Diverse evidence suggests that infection by EBV during late childhood or young adulthood may have a role in the pathogenesis of MS. These include the similarity between the geographical distribution of IMand MS, the high risk of contracting MS by individuals who have recovered from IM, the elevation of the titers of IgG antibodies against EBV nuclear antigens occurring years before the initial manifestations of MS, and the extremely rare occurrence of MS in individuals seronegative for EBV. However, the data on the mechanism underlying the relationship between EBV and MS are controversial. Moreover, many observations indicate that EBV contributes also to the pathomechanism of SLE. However, this contribution differs from the relationship between EBV and MS, as shown by the lack of any increase in the risk of SLE after IM. In SLE, EBV serology is quantitatively and qualitatively different from the normal response – that is, EBV viral load is higher and a strong cross-reaction can be detected between certain EBV antigens and autoantigens of pathological importance. These observations, along with the findings pointing to a possible role of EBV in rheumatoid arthritis and myasthenia gravis indicate that infection by EBV may be one of the environmental factors, which can facilitate the development of some autoimmune disorders in genetically susceptible individuals.
PMCID: PMC3918129  PMID: 24516733
EBV; infectious mononucleosis; multiple sclerosis; SLE
13.  Epstein-Barr Virus and Gastric Carcinoma – Viral Carcinogenesis through Epigenetic Mechanisms 
Epstein-Barr virus (EBV)-associated gastric carcinoma (GC) is the monoclonal growth of EBV-infected epithelial cells, and the entity was recognized only recently. EBV-associated GC is distributed worldwide and more than 90,000 patients are estimated to develop GC annually in association with EBV (10% of total GC). EBV-associated GC occurs in two forms in terms of the histological features, i.e., lymphoepithelioma-like GC and ordinary type of GC. Both share characteristic clinicopathological features, such as the preferential occurrence as multiple cancer and remnant stomach cancer. While the expression of EBV-latent genes is restricted to several in the infected cells (Latency I), EBV-associated GC shows gastric cell phenotype, resistance to apoptosis, and the production of immunomodulator molecules. Recently, global and non-random CpG island methylation of the promoter region of many cancer-related genes has been demonstrated with their decreased expression, such as p16 INK4A, p73 and E-cadherin. This abnormality is accompanied by methylation of the EBV genome itself, suggesting a process of virus-driven hypermethylation in the development of neoplastic cells. Further studies are necessary to determine the precise sequence of EBV infection, methylation, transformation and selection of the predominant clone within the stomach mucosa. Future studies are also desirable for the target and strategy of therapy, such as initiating viral replication or reversing the DNA methylation of cellular genes.
PMCID: PMC2480567  PMID: 18784828
Epstein-Barr virus; gastric cancer; DNA methylation; viral oncogenesis; histology; chronic inflammation
14.  Epstein-Barr Virus (EBV)-associated Gastric Carcinoma 
Viruses  2012;4(12):3420-3439.
The ubiquitous Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) is associated with several human tumors, which include lymphoid and epithelial malignancies. It is known that EBV persistently infects the memory B cell pool of healthy individuals by activating growth and survival signaling pathways that can contribute to B cell lymphomagenesis. Although the monoclonal proliferation of EBV-infected cells can be observed in epithelial tumors, such as nasopharyngeal carcinoma and EBV-associated gastric carcinoma, the precise role of EBV in the carcinogenic progress is not fully understood. This review features characteristics and current understanding of EBV-associated gastric carcinoma. EBV-associated gastric carcinoma comprises almost 10% of all gastric carcinoma cases and expresses restricted EBV latent genes (Latency I). Firstly, definition, epidemiology, and clinical features are discussed. Then, the route of infection and carcinogenic role of viral genes are presented. Of particular interest, the association with frequent genomic CpG methylation and role of miRNA for carcinogenesis are topically discussed. Finally, the possibility of therapies targeting EBV-associated gastric carcinoma is proposed.
PMCID: PMC3528272  PMID: 23342366
EBV; Carcinogenesis; EBV-associated gastric carcinoma; Epithelial; CD21; Methylation; miRNA
15.  CD8+ T-Cell Deficiency, Epstein-Barr Virus Infection, Vitamin D Deficiency, and Steps to Autoimmunity: A Unifying Hypothesis 
Autoimmune Diseases  2012;2012:189096.
CD8+ T-cell deficiency is a feature of many chronic autoimmune diseases, including multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, systemic lupus erythematosus, Sjögren's syndrome, systemic sclerosis, dermatomyositis, primary biliary cirrhosis, primary sclerosing cholangitis, ulcerative colitis, Crohn's disease, psoriasis, vitiligo, bullous pemphigoid, alopecia areata, idiopathic dilated cardiomyopathy, type 1 diabetes mellitus, Graves' disease, Hashimoto's thyroiditis, myasthenia gravis, IgA nephropathy, membranous nephropathy, and pernicious anaemia. It also occurs in healthy blood relatives of patients with autoimmune diseases, suggesting it is genetically determined. Here it is proposed that this CD8+ T-cell deficiency underlies the development of chronic autoimmune diseases by impairing CD8+ T-cell control of Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) infection, with the result that EBV-infected autoreactive B cells accumulate in the target organ where they produce pathogenic autoantibodies and provide costimulatory survival signals to autoreactive T cells which would otherwise die in the target organ by activation-induced apoptosis. Autoimmunity is postulated to evolve in the following steps: (1) CD8+ T-cell deficiency, (2) primary EBV infection, (3) decreased CD8+ T-cell control of EBV, (4) increased EBV load and increased anti-EBV antibodies, (5) EBV infection in the target organ, (6) clonal expansion of EBV-infected autoreactive B cells in the target organ, (7) infiltration of autoreactive T cells into the target organ, and (8) development of ectopic lymphoid follicles in the target organ. It is also proposed that deprivation of sunlight and vitamin D at higher latitudes facilitates the development of autoimmune diseases by aggravating the CD8+ T-cell deficiency and thereby further impairing control of EBV. The hypothesis makes predictions which can be tested, including the prevention and successful treatment of chronic autoimmune diseases by controlling EBV infection.
PMCID: PMC3270541  PMID: 22312480
16.  EBNA1-specific T cells from patients with multiple sclerosis cross react with myelin antigens and co-produce IFN-γ and IL-2 
The Journal of Experimental Medicine  2008;205(8):1763-1773.
Symptomatic primary Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) infection and elevated humoral immune responses to EBV are associated with an increased risk of developing multiple sclerosis (MS). We explored mechanisms leading to this change in EBV-specific immunity in untreated patients with MS and healthy virus carriers matched for MS-associated HLA alleles. MS patients showed selective increase of T cell responses to the EBV nuclear antigen 1 (EBNA1), the most consistently recognized EBV-derived CD4+ T cell antigen in healthy virus carriers, but not to other EBV-encoded proteins. In contrast, influenza and human cytomegalovirus–specific immune control was unchanged in MS. The enhanced response to EBNA1 was mediated by an expanded reservoir of EBNA1-specific central memory CD4+ T helper 1 (Th1) precursors and Th1 (but not Th17) polarized effector memory cells. In addition, EBNA1-specific T cells recognized myelin antigens more frequently than other autoantigens that are not associated with MS. Myelin cross-reactive T cells produced IFN-γ, but differed from EBNA1-monospecific cells in their capability to produce interleukin-2, indicative of a polyfunctional phenotype as found in controlled chronic viral infections. Our data support the concept that clonally expanded EBNA1-specific CD4+ T cells potentially contribute to the development of MS by cross-recognition of myelin antigens.
PMCID: PMC2525578  PMID: 18663124
17.  Epstein-Barr Virus and p16INK4A Methylation in Squamous Cell Carcinoma and Precancerous Lesions of the Cervix Uteri 
Journal of Korean Medical Science  2005;20(4):636-642.
Methylation of p16 is an important mechanism in cervical carcinogenesis. However, the relationship between cervical squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) and Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) remains controversial. Here, we explored whether EBV infection and/or p16 gene inactivation would play any role in cervical carcinogenesis. Eighty-two specimens included 41 invasive SCCs, 30 cervical intraepithelial neoplasm (CIN; CIN 1, 11 cases, CIN II, 3 cases, CIN III 16 cases) and 11 nonneoplastic cervices. EBV was detected by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) for EBNA-1 and in situ hybridization for EBER-1. The p16 methylation-status and the expression of p16 protein were studied by methylation-specific PCR and immunohistochemistry, respectively. The materials were divided into four groups: 1) nonneoplastic cervices, 2) CIN I, 3) CIN II-III and 4) invasive SCCs. p16 methylation and p16 immunoexpressions increased in CIN and invasive SCCs than nonneoplastic tissue. p16-methylation and p16-immunoreactivities were higher in the EBV-positive group (p=0.009, p<0.001) than in the EBV-negative group. EBV was detected more frequently in CIN and SCCs than nonneoplastic cervices. In conclusion, a correlation between p16 methylation, p16 immunoreactivity and the detection of EBV strongly suggested that the cooperation of EBV and p16 gene may play a synergic effect on cell cycle deregulation.
PMCID: PMC2782161  PMID: 16100457
Protein p16; Methylation; Herpesvirus 4, Human; Epstein-Barr Virus Infections; Cervix Neoplasms; Carcinogenesis
18.  Proof for EBV's Sustaining Role in Burkitt's Lymphomas 
Seminars in cancer biology  2009;19(6):389-393.
We have found that not all Epstein-Barr viral (EBV) plasmids are duplicated each cell cycle. This inefficiency is intrinsic to EBV's mechanism of DNA synthesis in latently infected cells and necessarily leads to a loss of EBV plasmids from proliferating cells. If EBV provides its host cells advantages that allow those cells that retain EBV to outgrow those that lose it, then such proliferating populations will be EBV-positive. EBV-associated human tumors are EBV-positive. Thus the presence of EBV plasmids in most cells of a tumor demonstrates that EBV sustains these tumors in vivo. The virus can provide multiple selective advantages to tumor cells, including promoting cell proliferation and inhibiting cell death. In the case of Burkitt's lymphomas (BL), most current evidence indicates that the tumor requires the virus minimally to block apoptosis.
PMCID: PMC2789873  PMID: 19628040
Burkitt's lymphoma; Epstein-Barr virus; tumor virus; tumor survival
19.  Decreased CD8+ T cell response to Epstein-Barr virus infected B cells in multiple sclerosis is not due to decreased HLA class I expression on B cells or monocytes 
BMC Neurology  2011;11:95.
Patients with multiple sclerosis (MS) have a decreased frequency of CD8+ T cells reactive to their own Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) infected B cells. We have proposed that this might predispose to the development of MS by allowing EBV-infected autoreactive B cells to accumulate in the central nervous system. The decreased CD8+ T cell response to EBV results from a general CD8+ T cell deficiency and also a decreased proportion of EBV-specific T cells within the total CD8+ T cell population. Because decreased HLA class I expression on monocytes and B cells has been reported in MS and could influence the generation and effector function of EBV-specific CD8+ T cells, the present study was undertaken to measure the expression of HLA molecules on B cells and monocytes in patients with MS.
We used flow cytometry to determine the proportions of T cells, natural killer cells, B cells and monocytes in peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) and to quantify the expression of HLA molecules on T cells, B cells and monocytes of 59 healthy subjects and 62 patients with MS who had not received corticosteroids or immunomodulatory therapy in the previous 3 months.
The levels of HLA class I and class II molecules expressed on T cells, B cells and monocytes were normal in patients with MS, with the exception of two patients with secondary progressive MS with very low class II expression on B cells. In confirmation of previous studies we also found that the percentage of CD8+ T cells was significantly decreased whereas the percentage of CD4+ T cells and the CD4:CD8 ratio were significantly increased in patients with MS compared to healthy subjects.
The decreased CD8+ T cell response to EBV-infected B cells in MS patients is not due to decreased HLA class I expression on monocytes or B cells. In a small proportion of patients decreased HLA class II expression on B cells might impair the CD8+ T cell response to EBV by reducing CD4+ T cell help.
PMCID: PMC3163532  PMID: 21810280
20.  Recent Advances on the Possible Neuroprotective Activities of Epstein-Barr Virus Oncogene BARF1 Protein in Chronic Inflammatory Disorders of Central Nervous System  
Current Neuropharmacology  2010;8(3):268-275.
Multiple sclerosis and neurodegenerative diseases in which cells of the central nervous system (CNS) are lost or damaged are rapidly increasing in frequency, and there is neither effective treatment nor cure to impede or arrest their destructive course. The Epstein-Barr virus is a human gamma-herpesvirus that infects more than 90% of the human population worldwide and persisting for the lifetime of the host. It is associated with numerous epithelial cancers, principally undifferentiated nasopharyngeal carcinoma and gastric carcinoma. Individuals with a history of symptomatic primary EBV infection, called infectious mononucleosis, carry a moderately higher risk of developing multiple sclerosis (MS). It is not known how EBV infection potentially promotes autoimmunity and central nervous system (CNS) tissue damage in MS. Recently it has been found that EBV isolates from different geographic regions have highly conserved BARF1 epitopes. BARF1 protein has the neuroprotective and mitogenic activity, thus may be useful to combat and overcome neurodegenerative disease. BARF1 protein therapy can potentially be used to enhance the neuroprotective activities by combinational treatment with anti-inflammatory antagonists and neuroprotectors in neural disorders.
PMCID: PMC3001219  PMID: 21358976
Epstein-Barr Virus; neuroregeneration; chronic inflammatory disorders; multiple sclerosis.
21.  EBV-Positive T/NK-Cell Lymphoproliferative Disease of Childhood 
Korean Journal of Pathology  2013;47(2):137-147.
Epstein-Barr virus (EBV)-associated hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis (HLH), EBV-positive systemic T-cell lymphoproliferative disease (STLPD) of childhood, and chronic active EBV (CAEBV) infection may develop after primary EBV infection. This study reviewed the clinicopathological spectrum of EBV-associated T- and natural killer (NK)-cell LPD, including STLPD and CAEBV infection, with an analysis of T-cell clonality.
Clinicopathological features of seven patients with EBV-associated HLH or STLPD and 12 patients with CAEBV infection were reviewed. Immunohistochemical staining and a T-cell receptor (TCR) gene rearrangement study were performed.
STLPD and EBV-positive HLH showed significantly overlapping clinicopathological findings. One patient with STLPD and one patient with EBV-positive HLH demonstrated moderate to severe atypia of the infiltrating lymphocytes, whereas the remaining patients lacked significant atypia. Twelve patients had CAEBV infection, four of whom suffered mosquito-bite hypersensitivity, five showed NK lymphocytosis, and one suffered hydroa vacciniforme. Infiltrating lymphocytes were predominantly small and devoid of atypia. Hemophagocytic histiocytosis was found in seven of 11 patients. Monoclonality was detected in three (50%) of the six patients with successful TCR gene analysis.
EBV-positive HLH and STLPD share similar clinicopathological findings and may constitute a continuous spectrum of acute EBV-associated T- or NK-cell proliferative disorders. The distinction of EBV-positive T-cell LPD from EBV-positive HLH may be difficult during routine diagnoses because of the technical limitations of clonality assessment.
PMCID: PMC3647126  PMID: 23667373
Epstein-Barr virus infections; Lymphoma, T-cell; Killer cells, natural; Lymphoproliferative disorders; Clonality
22.  Decreased T cell reactivity to Epstein–Barr virus infected lymphoblastoid cell lines in multiple sclerosis 
To investigate T cell and antibody immunity to Epstein–Barr virus (EBV) in multiple sclerosis (MS).
Immunoglobulin G (IgG) immunity to EBV nuclear antigen 1 (EBNA1) and viral capsid antigen was measured by enzyme linked immunosorbent assays, and T cell immunity was assessed using enzyme linked immunospot assays to measure the frequency of peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) producing interferon γ in response to autologous EBV infected B cell lymphoblastoid cell lines (LCL) in 34 EBV seropositive healthy subjects and 34 EBV seropositive patients with MS who had not received immunomodulatory therapy in the previous 3 months.
Patients with MS had increased levels of anti-EBNA1 IgG but a decreased frequency of LCL specific T cells compared with healthy subjects. Using purified populations of CD4+ T cells and CD8+ T cells, we showed that the LCL specific response resides predominantly in the CD8+ population, with a frequency 5–7-fold higher than in the CD4+ population. The decreased CD8+ T cell response to LCL in MS was not caused by decreased HLA class I expression by LCL, and LCL from MS patients could be killed normally by HLA matched EBV specific cytotoxic CD8+ T cell clones from healthy subjects. Furthermore, the decreased CD8+ T cell immunity to EBV was not due to a primary defect in the function of CD8+ T cells because EBV specific cytotoxic CD8+ T cell lines could be generated normally from the PBMC of patients with MS.
This quantitative deficiency in CD8+ T cell immunity to EBV might be responsible for the accumulation of EBV infected B cells in the brains of patients with MS.
PMCID: PMC2663364  PMID: 19015225
23.  Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of the Sero-Epidemiological Association between Epstein Barr Virus and Multiple Sclerosis 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(4):e61110.
A role for Epstein Barr virus (EBV) in multiple sclerosis (MS) has been postulated. Previous systematic reviews found higher prevalences of anti-EBV antibodies in MS patients compared to controls, but many studies have since been published, and there is a need to apply more rigorous systematic review methods.
Methodology/Principal Findings
We examined the link between EBV and MS by conducting a systematic review and meta-analysis of case-control and cohort studies that examined the prevalence of anti-EBV antibodies in the serum of cases and controls. We searched Medline and Embase databases from 1960 to 2012, with no language restriction. The Mantel-Haenszel odds ratios (OR) for anti-EBV antibodies sero-positivity were calculated, and meta-analysis conducted. Quality assessment was performed using a modified version of the Newcastle Ottawa scale. Thirty-nine studies were included. Quality assessment found most studies reported acceptable selection and comparability of cases and controls. However the majority had poor reporting of ascertainment of exposure. Most studies found a higher sero-prevalence of anti-EBNA IgG and anti-VCA IgG in cases compared to controls. The results for anti-EA IgG were mixed with only half the studies finding a higher sero-prevalence in cases. The meta-analysis showed a significant OR for sero-positivity to anti-EBNA IgG and anti-VCA IgG in MS cases (4.5 [95% confidence interval (CI) 3.3 to 6.6, p<0.00001] and 4.5 [95% CI 2.8 to 7.2, p<0.00001] respectively). However, funnel plot examination suggested publication bias for the reporting of the anti-EBNA IgG. No significant difference in the OR for sero-positivity to anti-EA IgG was found (1.4 [95% CI 0.9 to 2.1, p = 0.09]).
These findings support previous systematic reviews, however publication bias cannot be excluded. The methodological conduct of studies could be improved, particularly with regard to reporting and conduct of laboratory analyses.
PMCID: PMC3621759  PMID: 23585874
24.  EBNA1 and LMP1 variants in multiple sclerosis cases and controls 
Acta neurologica Scandinavica  2010;124(1):53-58.
Prior infection with Epstein-barr virus (EBV) is an established risk factor for multiple sclerosis (MS). Some findings from observational studies, including possible epidemics and differences in prevalence, may be explained if different strains of EBV conferred different MS risk.
DNA was extracted from peripheral lymphocytes obtained for 66 MS cases and 66 age- and cohort-matched controls. Nested polymerase chain reaction (PCR) was performed to amplify the N- and C-terminus regions of EBNA1 and the hyper-variable region of the LMP1 gene. For EBNA1, we compared the presence of the prototype B95.8 versus variant sequence and the presence of multiple strains in MS cases and controls. For LMP1, we considered differences in the proportions of mutations between cases and controls.
Comparing the proportion of mutant sequence between MS cases and controls in the EBNA1 N-terminal (0/28 vs. 1/27) and C-terminal regions (3/40 vs. 8/36) revealed no significant differences (p>0.05). No individual variants in LMP1 were associated with risk of MS (all p>0.05). Neither EBNA1 nor LMP1 variation was associated with anti-EBNA1 IgG antibody titers.
These findings do not support a strong role for variation in EBNA1 N-terminus, EBNA1 C-terminus or LMP1 contributing to MS risk.
PMCID: PMC2965795  PMID: 20636447
Epstein-barr virus; genotype; multiple sclerosis
25.  Colonic EBV-Associated Lymphoproliferative Disorder in a Patient Treated with Rabbit Antithymocyte Globulin for Aplastic Anemia 
Epstein-Barr-virus- (EBV-) associated lymphoproliferative disorder (LPD) after immunosuppressive therapy for aplastic anemia (AA), in a nontransplant setting, has not been well described. We report one case of colonic EBV-LPD after a single course of immunosuppressive therapy for AA. The patient developed multiple colonic tumors 3 months after receiving immunosuppressive therapy, which consisted of rabbit antithymocyte globulin (ATG), cyclosporine, and methyl-predonisolone. The histological findings of biopsy specimens revealed that atypical lymphocytes had infiltrated colonic glands. Immunohistochemical staining for CD20 was positive, and in situ hybridization for EBV-encoded small RNAs was also positive. The EBV viral load in peripheral blood was slightly increased to 140/106 white blood cells. After the cessation of immunosuppressant, the colonic tumors spontaneously regressed, and the EBV viral load decreased to undetectable levels. This is the first report of the single use of rabbit ATG inducing colonic EBV-LPD. Because a single use of immunosuppressive therapy containing rabbit ATG can cause EBV-LPD, we should carefully observe patients receiving rabbit ATG for AA.
PMCID: PMC3461615  PMID: 23050175

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